U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Clemson University College of Education as the #1 online graduate education program in the nation in 2023. Master’s programs across all three departments in the College have maintained the top overall spot, which it has held for five of the last six years. The College once again achieved a perfect overall score for online master’s in education programs.
According to Jeff C. Marshall, interim dean of the College of Education, achieving and maintaining this ranking in a crowded field of online education programs is proof of the hard work put into curriculum design and delivery by faculty and staff. He said that maintaining this ranking for consecutive years is a point of pride for the College and the University, but more importantly it is something alumni can wear as a badge of honor.
“We are thrilled that our alumni can point to the Clemson University diploma on their wall and say that our institution is the standard bearer for online graduate education,” Marshall said. “This ranking sends a clear message to school administrators, our educational partners and our state and nation that Clemson alumni are among the best prepared educators available.”
Programs included in the overall ranking include the M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning, the M.Ed. in Special Education and the M.Ed. Educational Leadership. Specialized programs offered by the College in curriculum and instruction as well as educational administration and supervision were also highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Marshall said these programs are among those the College has innovated and improved due to demand from current and prospective students. It has become clear to College faculty and staff that working professionals in education have an increased desire for quality online graduate programs that allow them to further their careers while on the job.
Faculty and staff behind the master’s programs have continued to focus on the best ways to shape education content and delivery. The continual focus on providing the highest academic quality and supporting the individual needs of all students continues to set the programs apart year after year.
“Our programs allow the College to provide an environment of inclusive excellence and continuing education to teachers throughout the state and nation in both urban and rural areas, many of which do not have an institution of higher education nearby,” Marshall said. “Substantial growth in the program indicates an excitement and high engagement with K-12 teacher audiences.”
Enrollment numbers reflect increasing interest in the programs due to their quality. Total enrollment across the three programs sits at 155 students compared to an initial cohort of 19 students in Fall 2016, a more than eightfold increase. The program has also welcomed U.S. students from 46 states and international students from 13 different nations.
Katherine Codino, a New York resident teaching in Ridgefield, Connecticut, is a student in the M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning program that has benefitted from both its curriculum and the relationships it provides. She said the program has allowed her to work with talented, knowledgeable classmates and faculty who are willing to share their expertise.
The community Codino has found through the program has allowed her to evolve her mindset around education and her role as an educator into something more purposeful. She plans to factor lessons learned through the program into coaching sessions and workshops aimed at teachers as well as research on effective teaching practices.
“I look forward to going out within my school, district and global community with the goal of sharing the knowledge I have gained through my experience in this program,” Codino said. “I will be able to positively affect and support teachers within their field through teaching, learning and instructional coaching.”
Achieving a top ranking requires a dedication to program quality and a determined commitment to graduating each student who enters the program. According to U.S. News, the highest-ranked programs at the master’s level perform well on traditional metrics — such as having selective admissions and credentialed faculty — while also successfully adapting their course delivery for educating students remotely. U.S. News provides comprehensive data and ranking of online programs to prospective students.
The College of Education offers master’s and educational specialist degrees that prepare professionals for such fields as teaching, school administration, counseling, human resources and leadership in both higher education and athletics. The College offers many classes online to maximize accessibility and maintain quality.
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